701 Chartres St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Strolling through Jackson Square and your attention is immediately drawn to the famous St. Louis Cathedral. Walking nearby to admire the intrauterine architecture, you can't help but notice the two large buildings that sit to the left and right of the cathedral. The building to the right is the Presbytere, which we will get to later. The other older and more significant building is the historical Cabildo.
The present Cabildo was built in 1795 to house the legislative and administrative council which ruled Spanish Louisiana. Two earlier government buildings sat on this spot and had been destroyed during both fires in 1788 and 1794. The Cabildo was designed by Gilberto Guillemard, who also would design the St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytere. The building took the name of the council for whose use it was built and continued as the seat of the government of Louisiana for the eight remaining years of Spanish rule. During the brief period of French rule, the building was given the French variant of its name, Maison de Ville.
The Cabildo would be most known for the site of the historical Louisiana Purchase, which literally doubled the size of the United States. From 1803 to1812, the Cabildo was used by the
|Cannon on display at the Cabildo.|
Before the transfer of the building to the state museum in 1908, the Cabildo served as a city hall, a courthouse and a prison. In 1911, the Cabildo became the home of the Louisiana State Museum and houses incredible artifacts from years gone by such as battle-used swords, a lock of Andrew Jackson's hair and one of
|Napoleon's death mask found at the Cabildo.|
Staff who have worked here during off hours have reported being touched or tapped on their shoulders. When they turn around, they see that no one else is around. Strange sounds and shadows have also been reported. Much of the paranormal activity is said to reside to the rear of the Cabildo, where the jail cells still stand. Individuals have reported seeing the spirit of a British soldier, who was hanged here as a spy during the Battle of New Orleans. He is often seen wandering aimlessly throughout the building. Next time you happen to take your children to the Cabildo to get an entertaining history lesson and think to yourself, “Boy, those new animatronics sure do look realistic,” keep in mind there are no such exhibits and you may have very well had yourself a ghostly encounter!